The Google Pixel 4a will seemingly miss out on 5G support in arguably the best possible way; by continuing its predecessor's aggressive pursuit of value.
A new report indicates the upcoming Android smartphone will utilize the Snapdragon 730, an SoC whose network capabilities peak with LTE. Google's choice isn't surprising but this is the first report of it based on more than just intelligent guesses.
The Snapdragon 730's name was allegedly spotted in direct reference to a Pixel-series device code-named "Sunfish". The sighting is understood to have originated from an unspecified code base.
Previous leaks already strongly suggested the "Sunfish" moniker denotes the Pixel 4a. According to existing industry rumblings, Google is also developing a successor to the Pixel 3a XL. The handset, supposedly code-named "Bramble", is expected to debut as the Pixel 4a XL in Q2.
Naturally, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 730 is nearly a year old now, which is often an eternity in this industry. Not that its age is catching up to it just yet, mind you; it still has a reputation of one of the best-value mobile silicon options on the market.
Even if proven accurate, the new report doesn't guarantee the Pixel 4a XL will use the same SoC as its smaller sibling. It does increase the likelihood of that scenario. After all, the Pixel 3a series launched last year also shared a value-focused Qualcomm chip across the board.
However, insiders recently claimed Google actually is planning to launch a 5G-ready Pixel mid-ranger this spring. If that device truly is the Pixel 4a XL, it certainly won't ship with the Snapdragon 730. Instead, it will most likely integrate the Snapdragon 765G, a more capable piece of silicon Qualcomm unveiled in December.
To 5G or not to 5G – it doesn't matter
What's widely believed to be the final look of the Pixel 4a leaked online late last year. The rumored design, depicted above, continues Google's minimalist approach to mobile hardware.
Assuming the Pixel 4a truly launches with a year-old silicon, Google should at the very least be able to match the aggressive price tag of its predecessor. Released in May 2019, the Pixel 3a started retailing in the U.S. at $399, or half as much as the regular Pixel 3.
The next few Android mid-rangers from Google are ostensibly moving toward a spring unveiling. As for whether the Pixel 4a family misses out on 5G support partially or entirely – that really doesn't matter. It's quite obvious Google will once again target price-conscious, value-oriented consumers with these phablets. At the end of the day, that's hardly a demographic desperate to reside on the bleeding edge of mobile tech no matter what.